In 1994, Tom Ridge defeated Mark Singel in the race for governor of Pennsylvania. Singel writes:
Tom Ridge and I maintained a bond before, during, and after that campaign. We would often compare notes at joint events and get messages to each other when there was a break in political hostilities. There was a chemistry between us that transcended the trench warfare. Early in his tenure as governor, we met to discuss my plans to hang around Harrisburg and to try my hand at lobbying. He could have chosen to derail those plans. He could have made a few phone calls and dry up any prospects that I had. Instead, he was gracious and allowed our friendship to grow. His signature farewell comment to me then and at every subsequent encounter was “be well, my friend.” You got the sense that he meant it. He also sent the word out to his team that I was one Democrat entitled to access. Key staffers like Mark Holman and Mark Campbell were as gracious as he was during those years – and to this day.
With the news that former Gov. Ridge has been hospitalized with a serious medical condition, I reflect on a man who continues to matter to the Commonwealth and the country. He served honorably in the Vietnam War, as a district attorney, a U.S. Congressman, the governor of Pennsylvania, and the first homeland security secretary. He kept us safe in the aftermath of the 9-11 attacks. He continues to be a voice of reason in a party that is being pushed over ideological cliffs. Tom Ridge deserves our respect. In this time of medical challenge, he also deserves our prayers.